Monday, April 30, 2012

Birthday Girl

I turned thirty-one on Saturday.
Wow, that number didn't seem old until I just now saw it in print. 

I am ankle deep into my thirties & the truth is, I am loving it here. I am celebrating these glory years--fine lines that are popping up around my face & all. I am celebrating these best days of my life years.  I am celebrating the fact that I've never felt more settled, more at home with myself, more me in all my life. The view from here is pretty splendid.

Forget the birthday cake--Yogurtini, baby! Clearly, we were both pretty excited over our frozen yogurt.

And if you lived here at my house or hung out with my group of friends, you would learn real quick that we don't simply celebrate a birthday DAY around here; we celebrate an entire birthday MONTH. I'm talkin' as many birthday dinners with friends as we can cram into thirty days, little prizes sprinkled throughout the month, extra trips to Scooters for blended coffee treats--one day simply wouldn't be enough. Oh, & get this... I've even got my hubby trained for birthday month--he came home a handful of times throughout the month of April declaring the moment he walked in the door from work, "You're not cooking tonight. It's your birthday month." Sa-weet deal!

I have felt nothing short of celebrated over this entire month--from the packages & cards that have flooded my mailbox {I opened my mailbox one day to seven different packages}, to the phone calls, heartfelt presents & endless trail of facebook messages.

One of my friends summed it up quite perfectly--"You are one lucky girl." Indeed, I am.

And while I know birthdays aren't really supposed to be about gifts--I simply have to gush over the presents I received this year: a beautiful handmade quilt, in pops of pink & green & turquoise & orange--my best friend had a lady from our church make it for me & it could not be more "me". An outside glider swing from my mom & dad--perfect for the summer evenings that are on their way, where two certain littles will scrunch up next to Momma for some relaxin'. An ironing board cover that matches my hot pink laundry room to a tee--you know how I love me some household pretties. A new pair of Toms, a fabulous new Mom swimsuit. A book I've been dying to get my hands on & my nose into. The list goes on & on. Birthdays definitely are not about the presents...but let's face it, they sure do make it a whole lotta fun!

Saturday morning, after sleeping in until 9 {thank you, Jett Jett!}, I woke up to pink balloons & a bagel breakfast with my boys. It rained outside & we lounged together inside, just the three of us, noting that our family, in just a few short weeks was going to be taking on a whole new look. We cherished the togetherness & found pleasure in the simple--like reading Meatball's Dinosaur books to him over & over & over again--a perfect birthday, if you ask this momma.  Saturday evening, Jared & I were able to slip off for a little dinner & movie date night while Jett had a date of his own with Coach & Gigi.

Come bedtime Saturday night, I laid my head on my pillow, at the ripe ol' age of thirty one, counting my blessings & wondering how in the world I got so lucky. I have a full, abundant, overflowing life & I hope to never for a single moment, take it for granted.

Thank you to all of you who make this life of mine so blessed. You know who you are.

Now if you'll excuse me...according to my watch, I've still got a few hours left of Birthday Month. This birthday girl is going to grab her new book, sink into a warm, bubbly bath, & not emerge til' her skin is transformed to a wrinkly raisiny state.

Sounds like a pretty good finale to Birthday Month if you ask me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


My parents were in town over the weekend & we crammed as much fun as we possibly could into two days-- a Baby Sprinkle, shooting hoops on the driveway with neighborhood friends, endless stroller rides up & down the sidewalk, grilling hamburgers on the back deck & topping the whole weekend off with a little Sunday afternoon ZOO day.

We've been talking about visiting our zoo for some time & after having a recent chat with Jett, I realized it was high time we book our trip. Little mister has known the different zoo animals for ages now &  makes every animated noise that goes along with each animal.  But bless his heart, he had yet to see a single one of those animals in person. In fact, all week long while we were talking about visiting the zoo & naming off the many animals we'd see there--lions & tigers & bears {oh my!}--he got so excited & exclaimed, "And Saurs!" {his word for dinosaurs}.  Why on earth would he think there wouldn't be dinosaurs at the zoo? After all, to him, every single one of those animals were just pictures in a book as far as he knew. Poor deprived kid.

{Oh, & you should've seen his disappointment when I explained that there unfortunately would not be any "saurs" at the zoo. He sat himself down & pouted for a good fifteen minutes. Next outing--dinosaur museum.}

We loaded the car up with strollers, coolers, friends & grandparents & off we went to spend a chilly day checking out some wildlife {well, besides the own two rambunctious wildlife we brought along with us}.

This Polar Bear was amazing. He was Jett's favorite part of the whole day, no doubt. Know how I know? Because four days later when we talk about our Zoo adventure, he looks at me like he can't remember a thing. That is, until I mention that bear. His eyes then become as big as saucers & he shouts, "Beaw!" {traslation: bear}, followed by "Beaw sfwim!" {translation: Bear swim}. 

Oh, forgive me. There is one other thing he hasn't stopped talking about--the train ride. Riding on Papa & Grandma's lap. The dark tunnel. The baby who cried when we chugged through the dark tunnel. He loved that train ride.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the little encounter Jett had with a particular Lemur. This rascal of a Lemur minded his own business until Jett walked up on the scene. Once he laid eyes on Jett, he started flinging himself all over the place, jumping from branch to branch & the two of them even had a little stare down going for a few seconds. I'm afraid my Jett & spastic little Lemur could do some major damage tearing up the town together. Mr. Lemur recognizes another little rascal when he sees one.

Stinky sheep. Jett mustered up the courage to touch one. And then immediately got doused in Purell.

Check out these brave boys. I don't remember what this animal is called, but when it saw two cute little boys, it marched right on over & went in for a kiss.

This Lioness was sitting on a rock in the distance with some of her Lioness friends & when she saw the room of spectators filling up, she hopped down from her rock of pals, pranced over, perched herself upon a rock that was just feet away from the window & looked at us like, Yeah, I'm pretty. Now take my picture. {Well, now that I look closer at the photo, it kinda looks like she wants to eat us. Nevertheless, she's gorgeous.}

I must say, ZOO DAY did not disappoint. Despite the swollen feet, drippy noses & crabby kiddos we went home with, we still felt as though our ZOO DAY was a success.  We'd made a day full of memories, a day chocked full of fun & a day that continues to make our boys' eyes bug out of their heads when they get to talking about it.

We'll do it like three years {right, Stacy? *wink*}

Now... does anyone know where I can find a great dinosaur museum?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Sprinkle

When I said I didn't really need to have a baby shower this time around--that I already had all the baby necessities I could imagine needing for baby girl, my friend Courtney wasn't hearing a word of it. She quickly reminded me that every single baby, every little life, deserves to be celebrated. 

So we had us a little celebration.  

Saturday morning, a handful of my dearest friends gathered around me at one of my favorite restaurants to throw me a baby "sprinkle".  It was small, it was intimate, it was just exactly the kind of celebration my heart had imagined.

The thing I love most about the group of friends I have is that they aren't all cut out of the same cookie cutter mold. They're not this big group of ladies, all in their early thirties, married, with two & a half kids at home. Their lives don't all mirror mine. They aren't friends that I hand selected myself, thinking, "You look like someone who could be my friend." Instead, they are the women that God has so delicately set in my path & has intertwined my life & heart with. One of them introduced me to my husband back in college & our friendship has grown & blossomed & gotten sweeter with time. One of them discipled me in the word of God. One of them I call my second momma. One of them has an unwavering faith that sends her all over the world on missions trips, proclaiming the name of Jesus. Several of them share their babies with me & let me love them like my own {both little ones & college age, alike}.

They are different ages, different personalities, in different walks & phases of life, yet each & every single one of them has given to me something in this journey of motherhood that I am in the midst of. God himself, has been the author of these dear friendships & I could not have chosen a group of women that better suits me. 

Not only did these ladies sprinkle me with love & laughter throughout our afternoon luncheon together, they also sprinkled me with some fun little girlie goodies.

I opened tutus & ballet flats, hair bows & teensy weensy bracelets. There was a tea set, an itty bitty swimsuit, ruffle butt bloomers & enough pink to set my girl up for life!

That little plant up there is a surprise sprinkle gift that Jett made for "Sissy" {with the help of Gigi}. It is now sitting in our kitchen window sill & when he looks up at it, he exclaims, "Sissy's!" 

It was an absolute perfect day--an absolute perfect "sprinkle". The life of my little girl was celebrated in a way that made my heart spill over & I cannot wait to introduce her to these women--the ones who have loved & celebrated her little life before they ever even laid eyes on her. 

She's one lucky little girl, already.

A very special thank you to my friend, Courtney for thinking of me & my little one & creating a celebration that I will remember forever & ever. You are a precious friend & I love you to pieces!

I'd also like to thank my friends Stacy & Amy for the precious little "sugar & spice" favors. They were absolutely adorable & added such a sweet touch to the day! Thank you girls! Love you both!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mommy & Meatball Moments

I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. When I rolled over to a clock that read 7:45 a.m. & realized now was the time to get up if I wanted to be showered, have Jett ready, fed & out the door by 8:45 for his 9:00 haircut, what I really felt like doing was pulling the covers over my head & cancelling the day, altogether. I even shot a text to my friend Amy {who cuts Jett's hair} asking for a later appointment. And then laid in bed a little longer battling internally back & forth with myself until I shot another text saying "I'm crazy. Changed my mind. I need to get my butt out of bed & start the day. We'll see you at 9."  Thankfully, Amy loves my crazy, indecisive self.

You see, I've been trying a new schedule around here. For a little while now, I have been getting up before Jett does & getting showered & prepared for the day. I am one of those people that has to start my day off with clean hair & a fresh look or I just feel blah for the whole rest of the day. I am also one of those people who loooooves sleeping in. And here lately, Jett has been sleeping in sometimes until almost nine, which has been heaven for my tired self, but has wreaked havoc on my productivity. On the days that I snooze right along until I hear a little voice calling, "Mommy!" from across the hall, sure I wake up feeling well rested, but it seems like by that point, my day is shot. I look around at three o' clock in the afternoon to find myself still in my jammies & smack dab in the middle of a day that had absolutely no direction. I manage to piddle, to lollygag, to fill the day trying to get organized & by the end of it all, I barely have time to squeeze in a shower before Jared gets home & I'm rushing to get a hot meal on the table. I go to bed wondering where in the heck the hours went & then I wake up the next day & do it all over again. 

This homegirl loves her beauty sleep, but it was high time something had to give. So I started forcing myself to get up earlier--to be more intentional with the time in my day. I'll admit, it's taken a little getting used to--come afternoon I'm dragging & feeling like I need a powernap. And gone are my night owl tendencies--this chick hits the sack early now. But what I'm enjoying about this new little switch in schedule is that I have time to get things accomplished--the grocery shopping, the meal preparing, even a little crafting here & there--it's all seems so much more doable now. And I have time for the really important things--like sitting down to play trains for an hour without having my mind a million other places. Or throwing on a pair of flip flops to drag every toy out of the garage for a two hour long afternoon recess with Meatball.

Or the simplest of things like saying to my little guy after his morning hair cut, "You know what? The days where it's just the two of us are dwindling down & I'm already missing the moments where our days are filled with only Mommy & Meatball moments. Let's go out for breakfast--just you & me, kid."

We sat for a good hour in Einstein, nibbling on bagels & chatting about music class, babies & boo-boos {he's got a skinned up elbow that happened earlier this week & my goodness is he ever so proud of that thing. He keeps his sleeve hiked up at all times so he can flash that Cars bandaid & tell the whole story to anyone he comes in contact with.}  I let him choose our spot, even though the table was sprinkled in someone else's crumbs & wasn't nearly as comfy as the corner booth I had spotted when we walked in. I smiled as I watched him skip boldly up to every kid in the place, until he had a little entourage of new friends who were giggling & chasing one another & entertaining the entire breakfast crowd. And I observed as he showed off for the elderly group who smiled & chuckled at his every move. It was nice to be in the moment, to take it all in without any distractions or cares in the world. {We even ran into the man who gave Jett a dollar bill on his two year old birthday.  Neither Jett nor the man remembered, but I could never forget such a sweet gesture or the sweet face behind that kind soul}

I'm not guaranteeing that I'll keep this little switcheroo in our schedule forever or that one day soon I won't treat myself to an all out jammie day where I piddle & lollygag & squander the day away. But I do know that being deliberate with the hours in my day has been a breath of fresh air to me & my little boy. I do know that for now, I need more hours in the day. I need clean hair & a fresh look. I need more more Mommy & Meatball moments.

A really special weekend lies ahead & come Monday,  I'll be dishing all about. See you then!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thinkin' Pink!

Today's craft session is being brought to you by the color {PINK}.

Little sister's nursery was in need of some color so I gathered up a bunch of crafting materials & got busy splashing little hues of pink all over the room.

Come see...

The nightlight I had once made for Jett's nursery--turned girly. I used this little nightlight every single night when Jett was a newborn. I would turn it on before I went to bed & then when that teeny cry would wake me up in the middle of the night, he & I would whisk off to the nursery for diaper changings & feedings. The little bit of light put out by this nightlight worked just perfect for those 4 a.m. wake up calls.

Closet dividers. I got the idea from here. These were so easy & fun to make. Organization & cuteness? Now, we're talkin'.

Polka-dot drawer liners. This dresser was Jared's when he was little & the drawers are a little worn looking on the inside so I like to cover them in fabric. {And I just couldn't resist tearing open a package of itty bitty diapers to see how they look in there}.

Metal pails I spray painted pink & added some frill to {these also used to be in Jett's nursery--a blue version, of course}. These were great for holding odds & ends stuff like lotions, tylenol, teething tablets...but this time around, I'm thinking hair bows!

I've got a few more pink items to add to the nursery & then I'll be sure to share a grand reveal with you! It's coming together quite nice, if I do say so myself. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Memory Lane Monday: My Journey With Postpartum Depression

Most of my Memory Lane Monday posts are oozing with excitement & dripping with sweetness. After all, there isn't much that is sweeter & more exciting for me, than reflecting on the moments in life where a squishy, pudgy, pink skinned little soul made his way into this world & changed the very way that world rotates for this momma.

I love the times that I'm swept away & get to reflect on those days that seemingly buzzed by in just a blink of an eye--the baby showers, the planning & prepping, the foreign love that seared my heart the moment my eyes met his, the middle of the night feedings, the many, many daily celebrations our little boy brought to our lives. With a newborn on the way, I find myself replaying those moments--trying to remember what they look like, what they felt like & trying to gear myself up to be prepared to soak those beautiful, fleeting moments up once again. I'm ready for the sweet moments, the exciting ones, the ones I know won't hang around long enough.

But there are other moments, as well. Ones I wince at when my mind takes me back, ones that paralyze me with fear & crank my heartbeat up until I feel the rush of panic coming on-- ones that make me doubt myself & my ability to be a mother & wife. There's a deep, dark unknown that sits simmering in the back of my mind, reminding me of the moments I went through when that sweet, soft, pink, pudgy new baby boy made his way into our lives & I can't help but wonder, Will I face that giant again?

Most people don't know about my struggle with Postpartum Depression. In all actuality, most people don't know much about my struggles, period. I'm good about keeping people on the outside of my life. I'm good at rocking a smile when the pain inside me is debilitating. I'm good at pretending I've got it all together & that I can handle what this life is dishing out. It's been a form of protection & a way of functioning through my years of growing up & when I need to, I can put up a guard so high you'd never know there was a thing wrong in my life. And believe me, I don't say I'm good at it because I think it's a good thing. I say I'm good at it because I've mastered it.

Slowly, over the past eight to nine years, because of my walk with the Lord, I have very {& I mean veeeeerrry} slowly allowed my shield come down, to let my smile fade into tears & to show the people who I completely & one hundred percent trust see the side of me that I have only known to keep hidden. It has been both terrifying & freeing in the same sense & I continue to find out that the more I let people in my life, the more they let me into theirs. Our hearts become knit into this beautiful tapestry that never could have been woven without those raw areas being exposed. I'm learning, I'm growing, I'm becoming more & more open to the idea of being open.

But opening myself up in the midst of my deep, dark, struggle with depression? Forget it. That was an area that was locked up tight under lock& key & not a single soul was going to their get their hands on the key to that safe. I was embarrassed. I was failing. I was lost. I was barely treading water & I wanted nobody to see what was happening.

I grew up my whole life wanting nothing more than to be a mother. My grandma still tells me to this day that she always knew I was born to be a momma. As a little girl, I was drawn to the babies--I wanted to rock them, feed them, change their tiny little outfits. I had every kind of baby doll ever made & I won't admit how long I played with them--let's just say one of my friends brought it to my attention that we were a little old to be playing with dolls, so finally I moved on to music & make-up & boys. {Yeah, that long.}

I graduated college with a degree in Education, only to find myself not standing in front of a classroom teaching little kids, but you guessed it--taking care of babies. Instead of ever putting that Education degree to use, I found a family who had two babies already..then added another baby... & then another ...& my heart couldn't have been more at home. Taking care of those boys left me happy; it left me fulfilled. The thought of walking away from those sweet boys who had become just like my own, to pursue something I was supposed to just because a sheet of paper from a university said I should, never made sense to my heart. I loved those boys to the ends of the earth & back & I knew in my heart that one day, I'd rock the socks off being a mother to my very own.

But I didn't rock the socks off motherhood. Motherhood didn't come easy for me in the way I thought it would. In my own mind, there was nobody more qualified than me to be a momma, yet when reality hit, I was struggling deeply with it.

Looking back, I have an inkling that it was the traumatic delivery of Jett that began my downward spiral & struggle with postpartum depression. Jett was a big baby, I pushed for a long time & at the end of all of it was left with a right leg that I had no use of & that nobody was able to give me any clear answers about. In the hospital, I simply laid in my bed, never getting up without Jared & a nurse on either side of me, pretty much carrying me to use the restroom. I heard one of the nurses outside my room refer to me to a new nurse on duty as "Numb Leg Girl" & I just sat there wondering what in the world all of this meant for me.

Once we came home from the hospital, our lives seemed to go to hell in a handbasket. I couldn't walk {but fell many times trying}. I couldn't carry my baby, for fear of falling on top of him. I couldn't shower alone. I couldn't drive. And when I saw my neurologist, I was told we'd just have to wait it out & see if the physical therapy would work to regenerate my nerves, but that there was no guarantee my leg would ever be the same. Here I had visions of being this perfect little momma--I'd do the grocery shopping, prepare the meals, do a little craft during naptime, & the reality I was facing resembled nothing of which I had ever imagined. When Jared's two week leave from work was up, I begged, cried, kicked, screamed & pleaded that he not go back. I felt so alone & lost in my head & couldn't bear the thought of him not being by my side. So he took another week off--which I was grateful for, but the situation still didn't look any better at the end of that third week. My days with Jett alone consisted of mere survival. Don't get me wrong, I loved my baby. I adored my baby. I rocked him & nursed him, sang to him & snuggled him. Not one part of me had a thought of causing harm to him. But pushing him around from room to room in a stroller was not my idea of being a mom. Most of the time, I found myself simply going through motions. Jared & I's marriage began to struggle & there were moments I honest to God believed it wouldn't last. I found myself so angry at him. He would come home from work & offer to take me to Target, just to get me out of the house & rage would pulsate through me. Didn't he understand that I didn't want to go to Target during the evening with my husband by my side, while I hobbled through the store? I wanted to be NORMAL! I wanted to be like the other little moms, who got their babies in & out of the car on their own, pushed their carts through the store & did their grocery shopping during the morning or afternoon hours, while their sweet babies snoozed away in the carrier. Having to be driven to Target, having to limp around & having my husband take care of the responsibilities that I yearned to take care of on my own were just  reminders to me of how abnormal I really was. So I didn't go anywhere. And I didn't let anyone come to me. I sank deeper & deeper & deeper until one day I had a horrible thought {the tears stream already as I go there in this very moment, but it is a real part of my journey & I need to share it}. I remember this particular day I had never felt so low in my life. I remember feeling like Jared & Jett would be so much better off without me in their lives & I came up with a {very irrational} plan. I had decided that come the end of the day, I would feed Jett, rock him to sleep, place him in his crib & call Jared to tell him there's been an emergency & that he needs to come home. I would time it out to where Jared would be close to home & I wouldn't have to leave Jett alone in our house for but a few minutes & I would kiss my baby good-bye & disappear from both his & Jared's lives forever. I would chuck my cell phone out the window & drive & drive & drive until I couldn't drive anymore. I would start a new life & I would never look back.

I never followed through with that ridiculous plan, thank God. And that night in bed, I finally broke down to Jared & told him my inner wars & thoughts. He begged me to get help. The next day I begrudgingly called a hotline {that never called me back}. I was way too private to reach out to a friend or family member, so I convinced myself I could get better on my own. After all, if there's one thing I know about myself, it's that I'm a pretty tough cookie & once I set my mind to something, I can usually conquer it. Some of my days started to look a little brighter. I could pull it together & actually enjoy the day without feeling like I was just trudging through. When I visited my doctor at my six week checkup {on a good day}, I smiled & told him everything was going well, that I was a little depressed but not bad {total lie}. He offered an anti-depressant, which I quickly refused & he stated that I probably just had a mild case of the baby blues & that once the weather started to get nicer & I could get some sunshine on my face, I would most likely begin to feel better. {I had even managed to bulldoze my doctor}.

But there were still days. Days that were dark & terrifying. I remember standing in front of the mirror one day, looking into my own eyes & searching for what seemed like forever to find any glimpse of me. I no longer recognized the reflection in the mirror & I had no idea how to get back to the Holly I once knew. More days than not, the pressures of motherhood would take a toll on me & I would reach for the phone to call Jared up at work, full of anger, demanding he come home. Sometimes he would come home & sometimes he just couldn't just simply up & leave his job.

I was lost. I was unravelling at my core. I was drifting away from reality. And one day I cried & cried to God, pleading for His help. Above all the loud & thrashing turmoil going on inside of me, something still & calm whispered to me, "You are mine." I heard it--not in an audible kind of earth booming voice, but I heard it in that quiet, still, soft voice that my bible tells me about. In that very moment I realized a truth I hadn't seen up until this point. It didn't matter if I knew who I was as a wife. It didn't matter if I knew who I was as a new mother. It didn't matter if I knew who I was as Holly anymore. The only thing I needed to know was that no matter what is raging around me & inside of me, I am & will always be a child of God. A peace washed over me & a comfort trickled through me. I knew I needed to cling to that truth & let God take care of the pieces of being a wife & mom that I couldn't. And He did. He took care of me in ways I could never have dreamed.

A few days later, I received a phone call from a lady from our church. At the time, I considered this woman to be a friend--not a close friend, I hadn't known her too long, but a friend nonetheless. She was calling about a little event she was inviting us to & only a few minutes into our conversation, I found myself spilling my heart to her. I was sharing details of my situation & life with her that I hadn't shared with a single soul & all the while I was battling with myself-- Why in the world am I telling this woman my struggles? I haven't even told my best friend these things! This lady is going to think I'm a nut job! She's going to report me to a mental institute. Quit talking to her! But I didn't quit talking. I shared, I wiped tears, I continued to pour out all that was warring inside of me until every detail had been unveiled & every secret brought into light. She listened quietly for a long time. And then she spoke. And when she did, she poured out her own personal journey with postpartum depression {that had taken place 18 years ago} & revealed to me that she had never uttered a bit of it to anyone in her life. Her story mirrored mine. She understood. She assured me I wasn't crazy. She encouraged me that I was a good mom & a good wife & that it was all going to be okay. Just like a life ring being flung out to a drowning victim who desperately needs a deep breath of air to fill their lungs, she saved my life that day. God sent her my way, He gave her that life experience of postpartum depression in her own life so that she could save my life that very day. Needless to say, she isn't just a friend I barely know anymore--she's one of the dearest friends I have & I treasure her friendship. I treasure her.

Through the process of sharing my life that day, my healing process began. I slowly began talking to my friends & to other moms & I came to the realization that so many of us go through this roller coaster of hormones called postpartum depression. I learned that it's okay to unravel & fall apart. It's okay to fail. It's okay to crumble to the ground & have the Lord rebuild it from the ground up in the way He desires to. It's okay to share our difficulties. It's okay to ask for help. It's okay to not have it all together. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay.

That time in my life was earth shattering & painful in ways I've never felt before, but because of it, I emerged such a different woman. I came out on the other side a more compassionate, more forgiving, less judgmental individual. I became a better wife & the love in my marriage grew roots that went deeper & stronger than they ever had before. And that motherhood thing--well, I learned to rock the socks off it. I look back & I can honestly say I'm thankful for that period of time in my life. Do I want a re-do of it? Absolutely not. But can I say it was beneficial? For sure.

To sit here today & tell you I'm not afraid of what the future holds would be the biggest lie ever told. I'm fearful. And my husband is fearful--I see it in his eyes & it breaks my heart into a million pieces every time I catch glimpse of it. But I also remember & cling to what my God told me in those desperate moments I was enduring two years ago-- You are mine. And I believe what His word says when He tells me that through my weakness is when I am made strong {2 Corinthians 12:9-10}.

It's funny. I sometimes find myself rationalizing in my head, telling myself --This time I'm gonna be awesome. This time I'm going to show Jared how strong I am & he'll be so proud that I didn't fall apart & that I handled everything so well. I'll be a Supermom. I'll do it all with grace because I've learned so many lessons. But the reality is that I may very well fall apart. I may unravel. I may lose myself as a wife, as a mom, as Holly all over again. Motherhood may not be the best look on me for a little while. But I also know that one day down the road it will all be okay. I know I must remember who I belong to, who holds me in the palm of His hand, who loves me & sees me as His very own child, who whispered to me in my darkest hour, who will send a little lifeboat my way,  that will chug up beside me, toss out a ring for me to grab hold of & lift me to safety yet again. There will be purpose in the struggles that I face & I believe I'll come out a better me because of the bumps set in my path.

If you're my friend-- in real life or "blog land", I am going to ask you for something--because I've learned it's okay to ask for help. I need your prayers over my family. We are entering into uncharted territory, both exciting & terrifying & the power of your prayers would be the biggest blessing you could give to us, if you're willing.

Thank you. And thank you for letting me share my journey.

I promise the next Memory Lane Monday will sugary, syrupy, drippingly sweet.

I heard this song back in January while driving in the car & it has ministered to my heart in mighty ways.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Preggo Happenings: 33 Weeks

Do I look like I'm in my 19th trimester or what?

Geez, I feel so huge. I have no idea how in the world this belly of mine is going to stretch for another six weeks. 

Here are a few of my Preggo Happenings at the moment:

* We have our C-Section date scheduled! Woo Hoo! Many of you have asked why I am having a c-section this time around & there are a couple of reasons--1) Jett weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces & 2) During the birthing process of pushing with all my might, I suffered severe nerve damage {the worst my doctor has ever seen} in my right leg. I could not walk, drive, go up or down stairs for nearly three months & my neurologist was not sure if my nerves would ever rehabilitate in that leg. It was a horrible, scary, dark time in our lives {one of these days I'll share all the details} & I can't bear the thought of going through it again. My doctor & neurologist believe that there is risk that it could happen again, so we are opting for a c-section.

* The nursery is painted! Remember that perfect paint color I chose four weeks ago? Talk about a NIGHTMARE! The paint code was wrong & the store could not get it right so I have spent the last twenty-eight days stressing over a new one. Finally, after a big fight with Restoration Hardware Baby & Child, a gazillion trips to the paint store & about ten sample colors later, a custom color was created & mixed for me. It is on the walls. It is beautiful. It is exactly what I had in mind from day one. Can I get a Hallelujah?!  

* The puking has stopped {for now}. The gagging continues.

* I got my first charlie horse this morning. It woke me up out of a dead sleep & I laid there gritting my teeth & writhing in pain, trying to keep silent so I wouldn't wake Jett.  I got them all the time when I was pregnant with Jett--always in the middle of the night & Jared would always calm me down & talk me through them. Today when that nasty little pregnancy symptom hit,  Jared had already left for work so I found myself repeating all the things he would say to me "Relax your muscle." "Stay calm." "Breathe". Whadda ya know? I survived. Man, those things are a real drag. My calf is still sore this evening.

* "Momma fat." Straight out of the mouth of my babe. It's all my fault that he said it & I'm ashamed that I'm the one he picked it up from. Every once in awhile when I'm frustrated that he's wanting to climb all over me or wanting me to lift him while I've got my hands full, or not paying attention while I'm putting his shoes on {making it take twice as long}, without any thought I'll say, "Jett, Momma's fat. I'm tired. C'mon...just work with me." Well the other day as we were putting on our shoes, me knelt over, more than likely grunting trying to get mine on, he pipes up with "Momma fat." I was mortified. And so, so sad--not because he had called me fat {he hasn't even the slightest what the word means}, but because it was my mouth that taught him such a demeaning, rotten, mean word. Talk about a gut check. No more fat momma talk around here.

*  My hips don't lie--but they sure do hurt. My hips are absolutely killing me! I don't know if it's because of the way I'm carrying this little girl {my hips never hurt while pregnant with Jett}, but I walk around like a little old woman half the time, looking like I need a hip replacement or a walker with tennis balls on the feet {you know, now that I think of it, that's not a half bad idea...}.

* Little Miss Thang is most definitely still a mover & a shaker, often times keeping me up all hours of the night, but I can tell now that she is running out of room in there. Her movements are more like thumps & twists rather than the crazy kicks & high knees she was bustin' out just weeks ago. She's still feisty, alright & every time she gets hyped up, I find myself getting nervous about the crazy nights I foresee once she joins us in the real world.

It is so incredibly surreal to me that in just a matter of weeks, I will be a mother of two. In six short weeks {at the most}  our family will be changed forever & these moments that we have right now before us will never look the same again. I am excited, nervous, elated & terrified, all in one. I have so many emotions & thoughts buzzing through me & one of these days here soon, when the time is right, I'll open up & share about some of them.

Until then, I've got a pile of pink clothing that needs laundered in Dreft. I've got nursery nesting & organizing that needs tending to, I've got bins of bottles & binkies that need sorting through & I've got a little boy that needs some extra snuggle time on his momma's lap {or what's left of a lap, anyhow}.  

This 33 week preggo momma has her work cut out for her.

Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

I'm not sure who did more hopping around over Easter weekend...the Easter Bunny, himself or our little family of three. We burned up the highway like nobody's business & stuffed as much Easter celebration into two days than one could possibly imagine.

It was an amazing weekend & I've got a whole bunch of photos to prove it...

We spent the first part of our Easter weekend back "home" with my family. My heart can't put into words what it means to see my little boy trample & stomp all over the very grounds that my feet once tracked across. And I found a smile smeared across my face as I heard Jared explaining to Jett, "This is where Momma used to play."

You should've seen the front yard of my parent's house when we pulled up into the drive--I'm talking an Easter Egg Hunt big enough for ten kids. We'd barely stepped out of the car & Jett already had a basket in one hand & a Grandma attached to the other one. A little bit of rain won't slow down a Super-Grandma & her grandson when it comes to sugar filled plastic goodness.

{Check out the size of that Easter basket. Grandma found out that Meatball's newest obsession is Mickey Mouse & she delivered. Go big or go home.}

Gone fishin'. This was Jett's very first time fishing & though he was a little apprehensive of the rocking of the boat at first, it took him all of two seconds to get the hang of things & start singing his heart out to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". And like the impressive fisherman my dad is, it took him all of two seconds before he was reeling crappie into the boat

A little pre-fishing practice run:

The real deal:

{Jett wanted no part of touching a slimy fish, but once they'd throw it back into the water, he'd exclaim, "More!"}

Apparently, my mom wasn't frightened away by Jett's mad egg dyeing skills, because she was bound & determined to see him in action for herself. I honestly didn't think it could get messier, crazier or more destructive than our last little go round'. I was wrong.  

{This picture cracks us up. We call it, "He is not here, for he is risen." }

Before we loaded back into the car for the evening, we threw in some bubble blowing & tractor rides to complete our fun filled day. 

Waking up in our own home on the holidays is a big deal to me. As much as I love visiting our families & treasure the thrill it is to see them spoil our boy, leaving lasting impressions on his little heart, I also love the memories we make at home, doing our own thing. The Easter Bunny delivers a basket of goodies to our door, he sprinkles treats all over the yard & then we rush around like crazy people, getting dressed in our Easter best for service at our own church. I love the tradition of it & I believe my children will appreciate it one day.

{Check out those full cheeks & chocolate lips. This kid takes forever to hunt eggs because he is constantly taking breaks to chow down.}

After an incredibly amazing Resurrection Sunday church service, we were back in the car, burning up the highway to visit yet another set of family members, who just so happened to be chompin' at the bit for some Easter celebrating. Meatball was greeted with hugs, kisses & Easter basket after Easter basket after Easter basket. The kid is deprived, I tell ya.

We joked that Jett is going to be in a world of hurt when he attends an egg hunt where the whole yard full of eggs isn't solely for him. 

Coach fixed up the old club house that Jared used to play in as a little boy & he & Meatball spent the bulk of the day climbing up into it & tossing plastic eggs out of it. Between the two of them, I'm not sure who had more fun!

It was one jam packed Easter weekend & at the end of all of it, both our Easter baskets & our hearts were overflowing.

And stay tuned...because it's not over just yet! This weekend we'll be jumping in the car for one last Easter hoo-rah at my Aunt Elaine's farm. I suppose we can fit a little bit more Easter joy into those overflowing baskets of ours.